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I smoke.  I don’t know why I smoke.  It’s bad for you.  It doesn’t make me feel better.  It makes me ill.  It poisons me.  Because that’s what it is.  A poison.  And it’s making me feel knackered.

I worry that it makes my teeth yellow.  I don’t want yellow teeth.  Yellow teeth are disgusting.  Ergh.  Apparently it makes your gums recede.  Whatever happened to the days of my early twenties when I was invincible?  I didn’t have to worry about receding gums then.  Or receding hair for that matter.

I hate the way smokers smell.  Especially after they’ve just come in after a cheeky fag.  It’s so very skanky.  I’m always conscious of that.  It’s a smell like no other.  And cannot be construed into sexiness.  Yves Saint Laurent haven’t packaged it into a bottle yet, that’s for sure.

Some people look like smokers.  I think I don’t.  People always say; ‘I didn’t know you smoked’.  Well, I do smoke I suppose.  But I wouldn’t class myself as a smoker.  Not a professional smoker.  You know the type.  The ones who smoke in the morning.  Get angry if they don’t have a fag.  Moan that it’s unfair that they can’t smoke on a plane.  I think they’ve lost sight that smoking is absolutely disgusting and has no benefits whatsoever.  At least I know these things and would never champion the habit.  People who do champion the habit worry me.

I only smoke because I have an excessive need to be naughty.  I’m a natural rebel.  By smoking I’m concentrating my naughtiness into a small area, thus not being naughty onto other people.  That’s my true habit.  Naughtiness.  If smoking was good for you, I probably wouldn’t do it.

Boredom drives me to puff away.  Working in hospitality, it’s the only thing that gets you away.  It is the ultimate escapism.  It is the boredom buster.  I wish there was something else.  ‘Jaffa Cakes’ I hear you say.  Ah, if only the packets could fit into my pocket.

As I lean against the shop window a voice disturbs my thoughts;

“You got a spare cigarette Pal?”

I look at the bearded fellow.  I can almost see the alcohol fumes floating from his skin.  Spare cigarette?  Spare?  What does that mean?  Spare?  I don’t carry spares.  I buy tobacco with the intention of smoking it all.  I may share it, but none of it is ever spare.

I wouldn’t mind giving the fella a smoke if it wasn’t for the fact that I smoke rollies.  Would I have to roll it for him?  Something I don’t think I should have to do given that I am already providing the tobacco delights.  Do I give him the pack and let him do it himself?  He might have it away and then I’d have to chase him down and pummel him to death.  An act, which these days, is frowned upon.  Plus then I’d be a professional smoker, killing in the name of smoking, all because somebody stole my ‘Stash’.

No, it’s easier to deny the man.  He knows it as well.  After initially asking me for a smoke, he had noticed I possessed a rollie instead of a manufactured cigarette.  Surely he would have felt awkward too.

“No.” I offered.

“No problem pal.”  He was obviously relieved.  I had done us both a favour.

As he slid away onto another unsuspecting smoker, his accent rang in my head and caused me to pose another question; Why are half the drunken hobos in London from Scotland?  Or actually perhaps they’re not.  Perhaps it’s that you just remember the Scottish ones.  I mean, it’s a long way to come, just to be drunk and live on the streets.  You can do that in Scotland.  And there’s lots of nice hills and stuff.  Perhaps the Scottish weather is just too cold to be on the streets.  But if that’s the case, why not find your way to Spain or something?  London’s not that great in winter.  In fact, it’s freezing.  At least in Spain you could sit on the streets all year round.  In some villages that’s all people do.  Sit round the streets and drink.  You’d fit right in wouldn’t you?

Perhaps the Scottish government export them down here.  Like in a big lorry or something.  Say they’re taking them to a show in the West-End with a free bar.  And then, when no-one’s looking, drive off leaving all these folk stranded in the Big Smoke.  They probably do it annually.  Those sly Scottish politicians.  I know their game.  Those poor people they just dispose of.  I find London a big enough challenge as it is.  I always thought that if I was homeless, I would go live in the woods and hunt wild boar.  Occasionally sneaking back into town to watch live football through Currys shop window.  I would definitely wear fur.

I flick my cigarette to the ground.  Convincing myself that today will be the last day that I smoke.  I know that’s not the case.  I make a move to get on with my day.  I have to.  I am no longer a man smoking.  Without the cigarette I am simply a man standing around, staring at people, lost in a whirlwind of thoughts.  I am no longer Clint Eastwood waiting for a plan to hatch, I am now a weirdo looking for his next victim.  And I feel like shit.

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